Ecstatic Daniel Ricciardo finding his Canadian GP victory 'a bit surreal'
Aussie expresses his surprise after scoring his maiden success in dramatic fashion in Montreal
By Mike Wise. Last Updated: 09/06/14 10:51am
Fresh from claiming his first grand prix victory in Canada on Sunday, Daniel Ricciardo readily admitted that the enormity of what he'd just achieved was taking its time to sink in.
Little wonder, really, when one considers the dramatic circumstances involved. A race bookended by two Safety Car periods, which ended with a monumental crash and also saw Mercedes' proud reliability record finally bite the dust, it was head-spinning just to watch never mind take part in.
Starting sixth on the grid, it goes without saying the race was one that came to Ricciardo. And even though his cause was greatly helped by the struggling Silver Arrows, the 24-year-old said he was going to take it all the same.
"It's still a bit surreal but really cool. It's not like we were leading the whole race, it's not like I had time to understand that I was going to win - it all happened in the last few laps," a beaming and slightly bewildered Ricciardo said afterwards.
"It's taking a while to comprehend that in my head but it's a really good feeling."
With team-mate Sebastian Vettel finishing third behind the hamstrung Nico Rosberg, there was double delight for Red Bull, for whom even a solitary podium finish had seemed a long-shot at the outset of the weekend.
Despite starting three places behind his team-mate, Ricciardo gradually came into play as Vettel - who qualified third - got stuck behind the one-stopping Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg after the first pit stops.
Ricciardo moved ahead of his team-mate after their second stops but with the leading Silver Arrows of Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton suffering identical ERS and braking problems around the same time, it quickly became apparent that Mercedes could well lose their unbeaten record.
With Hamilton soon retiring and leader Rosberg struggling for pace, first Felipe Massa's Williams and then Perez initially led the charge.
However, Massa was forced to pit and with Perez's one-stopping car subsequently developing brake and DRS problems, Ricciardo suddenly appeared strong in third place.
"The race came to life at the end. Obviously Mercedes had their issues and that enabled us to close on them. It was a good fight with Perez but we were really struggling to pass them, as we know they have a really strong car down the straights but it was doing a good job in the corners as well to keep me behind," he explained.
Lacking Perez's Mercedes power, Ricciardo shadowed the Mexican for a total of 28 laps before finally making his move into Turn One with just five laps to go.
"He got quite close to Nico and just overshot the braking a little bit into the final chicane. I just managed to stay with him at the exit, get the tow and use the DRS," said Ricciardo.
Up front, Rosberg did a fine job to hold on to the lead despite driving a car lacking in both power and braking capability but on lap 68 of 70, Ricciardo got past into the final chicane.
"I think it's surprised us, yes, because of the pace Mercedes has had all year," he added. "I'm still going to take the victory, don't get me wrong, but they had their issues today, which allowed us to really make an attack.
"It would have been disappointing if they had their issues and were still able to get the best over us."